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Govt expects more NZ aid for Aitutaki

Wednesday 17 March 2010 | Published in Regional

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Finance Minister Wilkie Rasmussen believes New Zealand government will contribute more to the cyclone recovery plan for Aitutaki on top of the $5.5 million package it announced last week.

The minister, who is also the recovery coordinator for the $9.46 million recovery plan, says the package NZ has provided so far falls short of what is needed. Government is only contributing about $2.7 million to the recovery plan.

Rasmussen has previously said he expected NZ to contribute $8-10 million in aid for the plan to rebuild the island struck by Cyclone Pat.

“It’s not the end. I understand we will be looking more into the future provisions from New Zealand,” said Rasmussen yesterday.

The 12 month plan has yet to officially get off the ground with the Aitutaki community already complaining they are still waiting for government to provide the housing grants and other financial relief proposed.

Last Friday, NZ Foreign minister Murray McCully said the $5.5 million NZ the package was a substantial contribution to the Cook Islands government recovery and reconstruction plan.

Rasmussen remains optimistic about receiving further aid for Aitutaki from NZ.

In the immediate aftermath of the cyclone last month, NZ provided $350,000 for emergency relief efforts as well as a Hercules and engineering team to support local efforts.